A Word that Means the World

Happy Mothers’ Day! To celebrate, we’ve got the Columbia record of “M-O-T-H-E-R (A Word that Means the World to Me)” by Henry Burr over on Soundcloud. Enjoy!

Burr recorded it on November 11, 1915 for Columbia and again on November 17, 1915 for Victor, apparently getting pretty much an exclusive on this song. The sheet music is another story, however. Eva Tanguay first popularized the song, but you can find scores of other performers gracing the cover of the published music—including Maurice Burkhart, Marie Russell, and our favorite, the Ragtime King himself, Gene Greene. It’s very difficult to imagine Greene singing this song on stage, at least with a straight face.

Sheet music to M-O-T-H-E-R featuring Gene Greene (Archeophone Records collection)

We’ve put out both of Burr’s versions, the Victor on Anthology: The Original King of Pop and the Columbia on 1916: “The Country Found Them Ready.” What’s cool about the latter version, as you’ll hear on Soundcloud, is that it’s a longer rendition. There’s a whole second run through the chorus, this time with a different acrostic spelling out the world’s most special word.

And by the way, both CDs were originally released in 2005, but have been recently reprinted and newly remastered—1916 in 2011 and Anthology in 2013. We’ve taken the approach of “refreshing,” not simply “repressing” when it comes to our catalog items, always insisting on making our issues the best they can be. It’s a subject we’ll be fleshing out more in future posts.

Have a great weekend, moms!


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